Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A cop-out on the BORA

The Bill of Rights Act is a core part of our constitution, and its requirement to report inconsistencies to Parliament a key constitutional safeguard. Unfortunately, the Attorney-General doesn't appear to be taking it seriously.

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from this ridiculous BORA vet of the government's Royal Succession Bill. Rather than addressing the serious human rights implications of the Bill in permitting continuing religious discrimination against "Papists" in New Zealand law, it dodges the issue entirely, declaring

The rules that govern succession are historically and politically complex. They are inapt for detailed Bill of Rights Act scrutiny.

Which is... interesting. I see no "except for the monarchy" clause in s3 BORA, and similarly there is no "its too complex" clause in the definition of justified limitations. Legal academic Dean Knight compares it to a student answering an exam question with "This question hurts my brain and is just too hard. Sorry." And he's right. It's just a cop-out.

We pay Crown Law $2.7 million a year for this advice. The lawyer providing it is likely to be paid more than $100,000 a year. The Attorney-General, who is ultimately responsible to Parliament for it, is paid more than quarter of a million. We deserve more for our money than this contemptuous bullshit.